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Women in gaming

(45 Posts)
Mehfruittea Thu 16-Mar-17 13:46:13

I'm really interested in women as gamers, why some are despite the male dominance and how they feel about the overt sexualisation of female characters. What do women gamers actually want to see or experience when playing games?

I'm just moving in to this industry and have already found myself as a lone female voice in the room. Despite 30% of gaming purchases being made by women, the men in the room do not think this is important. An anomoly based in who owns the credit card. Really? Help me out please!

ChocChocPorridge Thu 16-Mar-17 14:12:34

For serious, computer/console games:

I avoid games with overt violence against women as a plot point.

I roll my eyes about the ridiculous fur bikinis, or pointless sexism around minor plot points.

I try to always play a woman, just because I want to represent - although I don't admit to being a woman online unless actually pressed due to the response I get.

For phone games I tend to play puzzle stuff. I roll my eyes again at things like angry birds that have one or two female characters in the group (who are pink and princessy of course).

Willow2017 Thu 16-Mar-17 14:28:59

LIke to have a strong women character who is just as good as any of the male characters, or just as 'normal' as them smile like Left 4 Dead. Or create my own as in Skyrim etc. I dont always play a female just depends on my mood and character options, its not the end of the world if I dont but I do not want the females to be steriotypical, skinnym buxom, scantily clad fluffy decorations always needing rescued by the 'hero'.

I don't play any games with explicit violence against women i.e GTA dont care what the story line is I just wont play it.

As long as the story line is good and believeable as far as it can be depending on the genre, as long as it represents the setting/time and has a mix of characters I am happy. I also like a bit of humour in there amongst the angst somewhere smile

Personally not interested in any 'girly' games, prefer games where you can be anyone male or female and still do the game. But saying that it would be good if there were more games with a better ratio of male/female characters to chose from in a group setting, not just the one token woman.

I only play Jewel Quest on my phone, hate most of the other games (and its free!)

VestalVirgin Thu 16-Mar-17 17:57:12

I refer you to the brilliant Anita Sarkeesian and her videos for what women do NOT want. You should be able to find her via google. I think her site is called "Tropes versus Women."

What I want in games and often don't get is the option to play a female character who is not sexualized.

Morrowind (same series as Skyrim, but did not play that) has, as far as I remember, rather tasteful female characters, with breast sizes that fit the body (skinny women have small breasts) and the armour and clothes look exactly the same on characters of both sexes.
That's what I like.

(Yes, clothes and armour looking the same cannot be taken for granted. In WoW, what was a full breastplate for a male PC was a metal bikini top for a female character.)

If there is a male main character (and I don't get to choose an alternative because the main character is a specific person), then I want to be able to play him as decent man.
There should be no "bonus" scenes where he ogles female characters while they change clothes.

Random character like guards, etc. should be 50% female, 50% male, and there should be equality in any given rpg setting, unless fighting the sexism is part of the plot. (which should be handled VERY carefully, because gaming is something I do to relax. I don't want to have to get angry about sexism while I do something for FUN)

Oh, and female characters should NOT make any porn noises when wounded.

Also, breasts don't bounce if they are inside a fucking suit of plate armour, they just don't.

M0stlyBowlingHedgehog Thu 16-Mar-17 18:19:02

Couldn't help but think of this:

Boob plate armour would kill you

Miffer Thu 16-Mar-17 18:31:35

I just want good mechanics, I am not overly arsed about story. The only game that really bothered me in terms of sexism was FFX-2 because urrrghhhh. I still played it though because I enjoyed the mechanics.

An anomoly based in who owns the credit card. Really? Help me out please!

If I had to guess I would say that the majority of those women are not buying the games that we traditionally associate with gamer culture. My mum loves the "findy thing" games and "clicky thing" games (Big Fish website has a plethora of this and its obvious by their marketing etc who they are aimed at).

Mittensonastring Thu 16-Mar-17 18:54:15

Over sexualisation is ridiculous.

I loved The Division because the women in it wore actual regular clothes it was a snowy post apocalyptic NYC I guess but women are harassed in games a lot. In DZ six someone asked me to get my tits out.

Only 5% of the gamers on my friends list are women, why because they just don't speak out in public lobbies. You get everything from dirty guys saying your giving me wood to people white knighting you. You also get the middle ground OMG there's a chick in the lobby, those lobbies have more women than you think they just can't be bothered with the sexual harassment so don't reveal their gender. One of the most gifted gamers I know is a young woman, she never ever speaks in a lobby though she has spoken to me, she can kick the ass of almost anyone in any game.

I spend a lot of money on games and have an Xbox and am about to also get a PS4. My pc days are over now as prefer consoles.

I like playing as a female character but if the historical setting is for instance Battlefield 1 then fine I will play a guy. But in any fantasy game well it's open season on who is what character.

I'm part of a clan, we have a FB page I ended up getting seriously harassed by a clan member the clan leader dealt with it well.

Mehfruittea Thu 16-Mar-17 22:34:55

Thanks for all your comments, this is really helpful and insightful. It never occurred to me that you would experience harassment within a game. Maybe I need to get on and start playing them so I can understand the new world I'm working in!

I totally get the need for normal female characters with regular clothes etc. Some of your comments have shocked me a little.

I'm also starting to see just how masculine everything is. I started using a gaming mouse and found it was too big do my hand. And the desktop PCs look very macho - flashing lights and a window so you can see the geeky insides. Is this normal? Is this what girl gamers are in to as well?

I hate pink lego and find it offensive. But more girls and building and playing with construction toys since lego created the friends brand. Lego is just the peripheral to the game play, by making it pink they have made it more accessible. I hate that.

What do you think to the actual hardware? The consoles themselves and the PC towers? Are controllers sized for 'big man hands'? Does the masculinity of these big tower PCs put women off? I personally would find a pink version offensive but is there something to be done to attract more female gamers? Or is there something to be done for female gamers to feel comfortable 'coming out' online?

I really appreciate your thoughts.

AgainstTheOddsNo2 Thu 16-Mar-17 22:53:21

I think even lego have caught on to the fact that the pinkification of everything is unnecessary. The elves set started a trend towards more fantasy stuff that may appeal to girls and signal that this tour is "for them" (which started the lego problem as the brand direction was predominantly male irientated ( now there is the release of the dc girls sets. No pink. Strong female characters.

I think the same goes for gaming. There will be an eventual realisation that women are 50% of the world and that marketing is missing a trick. There will be awful pinkification and trivialisation to play down to the women. Then there will be an evolution...

Willow2017 Thu 16-Mar-17 23:03:49


Thats soemthing I hadnt thought to mention.
Yes some of the controllers are too big for me, I have small hands, they get pretty sore after a while so I hate to think what it does to kids over time.

I got us some allegedly better controllers with programmable auto fire function but they are way too big for me to use, very annoying. Xbox controllers with a smaller 'thumb' button would be very welcome.

I have a tower pc, I dont want a 'girly' pc tbh, just a functional one.

LilithTheKitty Fri 17-Mar-17 07:47:19

That's actually a good point about the controllers. We have a gaming mouse for our pc and it's obviously designed for large male hands. I have to splay my hand when I'm using it which isn't comfortable for a long session.

LosingDory Fri 17-Mar-17 08:01:05

Well..on the other side of this coin of women hiding their gender to avoid harassment, there are the women who deliberately play on their sexuality to get free stuff from men. I used to play an MMO and there were an awful lot of women playing it. There was one very popular woman who would send pictures of herself in her underwear (possibly less) to men in exchange for in game currency and items. I mean I guess you could say if men are stupid enough to go for that then she could crack on, but that sort of woman is hardly helping to improve the experience for other women.

Personally I try to play as a female when I play, and I don't tend to tell the room that I'm female because if I turn out to play rubbish I think I'd be in for a bit of a flaming so tend to keep it to myself

Miffer Fri 17-Mar-17 08:01:28

I don't have big hands and have never had anissue with gaming mice or controllers don't forget kids and are a massive user of these things. I don't think the towers are particularly masculine. I think the see through ones are cool in a kind of vague way, I wouldn't pay extra or anything.

Mittensonastring Fri 17-Mar-17 09:04:41

The towers are not masculine and who doesnt want to see the insides especially if they are lit up.

Are you not really much of a gamer then? There is tons of stuff online about gaming harassment. Try girl gamers Reddit for first hand stories.

Oh yes the streamers with cleavage, they make us look like idiots. I chose my GT to be neutral. The women I know who have an obvious female GT are often multi spammed with invites in social spaces.

I get the being offered stuff in game and have also been offered free codes for games. I never accept them. I have also gamed with a couple of women who encourage dirty talk so they are accepted, I rage quit recently due to one of them doing this after calling her out.

I have no issue with controllers and I'm actually a small person with smaller than average hands.

Are you working on the marketing side? Women will feel comfortable coming out online when guys stop being dicks because they think with their dicks.

Get yourself an Xbox, give yourself an obviously female GT get in those lobbies. The worst harassers I have come across are middle aged men or the kind of guys that are not social gamers as such but it's a way of life. They literally work and game and nothing else. I have some friends who will game for 10 to 12 hours both days at the weekend when off work. There are in jokes about omg you went outside.I game for around 5 hours per day almost every day, but I'm not working currently.

ToffeeForEveryone Fri 17-Mar-17 09:11:19

It never occurred to me that you would experience harassment within a game.

Err ...Have you EVER played an online game?!

ChocChocPorridge Fri 17-Mar-17 09:16:09

Losing - are you sure it was a woman? I've heard of that technique from some gamers who weren't women - they just get pictures from the internet to get free stuff.

Interesting you brought up lego - my kids play the lego games, and it really wound me up that the girls had special jumping skills illustrated with pink sparkles (I think I'm remembering right) - pointless gender division. By all means have some characters having special skills, but gender division to do it is lazy.

I don't like most controllers, I find the sony ones better.. I looked at little ones for my kids, and TBH the build quality wasn't great, and my DS2 (he's 3) seems to have found his own technique with the xbox ones.

As to PC design, I personally don't care what the PC looks like (I'm old enough that they were all beige when I started, so being able to get cases etc. in black was a nice change). I don't like viewing panels because they let out interference (and actually, I'm surprised they meet regulations because of that - at least these days my TV can cope with it, in the old analogue days I got snow when I took the side off my PC), but the glowing lights look nice (although I used to tape over them when I had the PC in my room).

Women can like black/flames/whatever too - we don't need a mouse to be pink in order to use it!

AllMyBestFriendsAreMetalheads Fri 17-Mar-17 09:31:44

"are you sure it was a woman? I've heard of that technique from some gamers who weren't women - they just get pictures from the internet to get free stuff."

^That's what I was thinking.

Slightly OT, a male friend of mine used to play online poker on one of the sites that uses avatars. He claimed that he won more often when using a female avatar.

It's been a few years since I played a lot of MP (no Xbox gold account anymore) but I would never speak in a lobby. CoD lobbys were awful, mainly because the game was so popular. The day I found global mute was a wonderful day.

I suppose there are a couple of reasons I don't talk. Partly because there's a lot of idiots, and teenage boys, but partly because I don't play games for the social side. It's my 'me time'.

QuentinSummers Fri 17-Mar-17 09:31:54

I don't play as much as I used to because the games seem all too macho now.
Favourite game of all time was Perfect Dark on the N64- Joanna Dark kicked butt! I liked the stealth aspect of it - if you tried to run into a room full of people you'd die so you had to think about how to get through each level.
Also really loved Zombi-U for the same reason.
I don't play online because there is too much cheating but if I do I use a male handle to avoid sleazes

Mehfruittea Fri 17-Mar-17 10:21:01

Thanks for all your replies. No I've never gamed online. Some of the terms your using in having to look up. 😳

I'm trying to not look like I don't know anything, but didn't want to fall in to the trap of learning everything I need for my new job from the men around me. It's not marketing but I will have influence there.

I have only ever played a few games on an iPad and never with the social element where you can communicate with other players. I will have access to consoles and PC games at work. Will ask for some pointers and give it a go!

I've worked in male dominated industries before but this seems likes it's on another level completely. I'm a little bit scared and intimidated but with your help I'm sure I'll get there. At least my actual job is familiar, I'm very experienced in that way just not this industry.

MiaowTheCat Fri 17-Mar-17 10:22:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

25bottles Fri 17-Mar-17 10:25:57

I love Call of Duty.
I remember getting last kill and hearing everyone take the piss at the guy I shot saying "you got killed by a chick"

VestalVirgin Fri 17-Mar-17 11:38:41

I'm also starting to see just how masculine everything is. I started using a gaming mouse and found it was too big do my hand. And the desktop PCs look very macho - flashing lights and a window so you can see the geeky insides. Is this normal? Is this what girl gamers are in to as well?

I have never been so much into gaming that I would have bought an extra mouse for that, but good point; my hands are rather small so I would have a massive problem with that.

And I think whether one wants to see the PC's insides depends on the geekyness of the person - I don't much care, it is just a machine, the interesting bit is the screen.

Game I put most time into these days has toned down the slutty female armour that loads were into in the past - we've at least moved past the iron plate bikini look of things to slightly more sane coverage of both male and female characters.

Not sure there's an evolution; I got into Morrowind (which had decent armour) way before I got into WoW, and WoW is /horrible/. (Which along with the harrassment is one of the reasons I stopped playing.)

I think stupid armour encourages male players to be sexist assholes, or attracts that sort of man. I can't prove it, but the atmosphere on the forums for the game with decent female armour was nicer and more welcoming than on the forums for the one with chainmail bikinis.

Maybe interesting to know that those things might not be independent from each other. (There are, rarely, women who don't mind the chainmail bikini, but I don't think even they want the harrassment)

Mittensonastring Fri 17-Mar-17 12:35:08

See there is also what is classed as a gamer, this in itself is a debate within gaming circles. An actual gamer to me is someone who will stick their hand in their pocket and part with money. Free I pad games means you enjoy games I wouldn't class that person as a gamer at all.

I was going to buy a battlefield 1 console sadly out of stock, current Xbox fine I just wanted a khaki one. Also console wars, I'm considering buying a PS4 so I can play a game that is an exclusive release to that console. That's approx £300 to play one game. Plus do you reveal your doing this to your Xbox one mates, some for sure but others would call you a traitor, seen it before.

Get yourself on twitch and look at live streaming and see what women and male gamers do. Look at the famous ones but also the ones way down low with almost no viewers or no viewers. Just listen to how they talk. I have streamed a couple of times recently I got 7 viewers very first time and I was only making a new wizard in Diablo 3 male mates were well your a woman and they hear that. I had no camera watching me game.

I remember one female streamer asking for donations so she could buy a pink gaming chair.

slug Fri 17-Mar-17 13:02:27

Otherwise known as the No True Scotsman defense

TimeforANewTwatName Fri 17-Mar-17 13:10:47

I'm not a gamer but have played skyrim and now Elder scrolls online.

I liked skyrim and ESO for the fact there are many female characters in them.

Online i've not had any problems so far, I don't use a microphone only text chat. But sometimes other players don't realise they have the microphone on, still i've never heard anyone calling women in a battle or anything.

Ds is a pc gamer he has a couple of female
Acquaintances online. But says there arn't many female players but lots of dick heads who treat women online quite badly. He doesn't like it. He plays lots of spy/assassin and bigbrother type games aswell as general gun games. I think one of is ESO characters is female too.

I like his computer I like to see all the workings and fans, I help him take it apart to clean too.

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